Date: 2/17/2003 4:41:43 PM Pacific Standard Time
What a remarkable day it's been! Remember last week when I was in Damascus, and was planning on staying at the church but ended up going home with Robin instead? Well, several years ago Robin was living in Little Rock and working at the Arkansas Children's Hospital. So she made a few phone calls there, and got connected with the security crew there, and told them I was coming. So on sunday I walked around 12 miles from Morgan on down through North Little Rock and right into downtown Little Rock. I knew the hospital was located near the capitol, and I could see the capitol dome from down town, so I headed in that direction. I also found out that Little Rock is as dead as a doornail on sunday afternoons, because the whole time I was walking downtown I only saw 3 people. I asked the 3rd person I saw where the Children's Hospital was, and he gave me detailed directions. As I was getting nearer -- but still unsure of my location -- I looked
up and saw a van half a block away that had "Arkansas Children's Hospital Security" written on the side of it. I looked at the driver and pointed my finger at him, and he pointed his finger at me, and I knew then that all my problems were solved. He introduced himself as Glenn and said one of the workers had seen me walking in North Little Rock and that they were all anticipating my arrival. He radioed a pickup to come and get my cart, and then he escorted me to the Ronald McDonald House where I'd be spending the next few nights at.
I then met Mr. Lewis Webb, Director of Security Services, and enjoyed visiting with him and his crew. After that Glenn gave me a quick tour of the hospital, and then took me to the cafeteria where I had a great supper for free.
Back at the Ronald McDonald House, Manager Kitty Stoper gave me a tour and explained a little bit about it. This house was built in 1986 and has has 27 rooms in it. The upstairs area is for parents and family members to stsay long term who have children in the ICU unit.
They have another area designated for cancer patients. This area is seperate from the rest of the house and somewhat isolated, to help prevent germs from spreading to these cancer patients while their immune system is very low. Another area is for the families of NICU patients -- tiny babies at age zero (premies) to 6 months old. All of the rooms have 2 single beds in it, and a phone, plus a sink, but the toilets and showers are down the hall. The rooms in the cancer unit are a little nicer, with individual bathrooms and tables, chairs, and TV's in each room, simply because those patients spend much of their time in the room. This place also has a large eating/game room/TV area with 2 full kitchens located on each side of it. You can bring your own food in and cook your own meals, and use all their facilities. Their laundry room is free, too, no coin-operated machines here. They also provide the soap. Before you leave, they expect all the
linens and towels to be washed and put away. The house is really cozy and tidy, and the people here are so nice.
On monday morning I met up with Peggy Bailey and Cindy Lindow. Peggy is the Director of Ambulatory Care Services, which includes the Neuro Science Center, Neuro Physiology Lab, Cardiology Clinic, and Pediatric Neurology. Cindy is an RN4 and is the Team Leader of the Neuro Science Center. They both took me around and showed me some of the areas they work in. On the 5th floor is the Neurology offices, where they introduced me to all the staff and showed me some of the equipment and testing that they do on patients. On the 4th floor is where they do the inpatient monitoring, such as being hooked up to an EEG for numerous days.
After that I met up with some people in PR and they gave me a tote bag with a t-shirt, an umbrella, a mouse pad, a refrigerator magnet, and a mug in it.
Then at 1:30 I gave an inservice meeting and talked about epilepsy and my walk to some of the staff. I find it terribly intimidating for me to be giving a talk about epilepsy to people who know ten times more about it than I do. But they were all so nice and seemed really interested in my story.
I also told Peggy that someone from the national office of the Epilepsy Foundation in Washington DC would be flying into Little Rock and meeting up with me in Pine Bluff next week, so she got on the phone and called up some school administrators to help line something up there. Incidently, I called up Central High School here in Little Rock to see if they would let me speak on tuesday (they told me to call back on monday and they'd give me an answer) and they said YES! So on tuesday afternoon I'll be giving a talk there. I'm REALLY looking forward to that, because I'm so enthralled with all the history there at that school.
On tues morning I'll be meeting with another lady, Sharon McMinn. She's from North Little Rock and is REALLY involved with epilepsy advocacy. She's written a few books, met with the national office, and has even showed up at capitol hill a few times. Peggy and Cindy called her up and told her I was in town, so I'll meet with her tuesday morning. She's also contacted the newspaper and the TV stations. Then on wednesday morning I'll be meeting with all the pediatric neurologists there at the hospital, and at noon I'll be meeting with Governor Mike Huckaby at the capitol. After that I'm outta here, and will be walking to Wrightsville.
Just a week ago I had no intention of walking through Little Rock but planned to bypass it alltogether. But because I met up with Robin in Damascus, and because she made some contacts for me, and because the hospital said "send her our way," I have had a most wonderful experience in Little Rock. And to think I almost passed it up.
Y'all take care and have a great day. KB
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